The State government has formulated programmes to conserve teak and sandalwood plantations, Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran has said.

Pilot projects would be implemented in each forest circle to establish fully mechanised teak plantations. Activities aimed at the maintenance of existing plantations would also be strengthened as part of forest development projects worth ₹209 crore that had been finalised for the current fiscal, he added.

He was speaking while inaugurating the passing-out parade and convocation of the ninth batch of range forest officers and the 78 th batch of beat forest officers at the Kerala Forest Training Institute in Arippa on Tuesday.

Emphasising on the need to rejuvenate sandalwood forests, Mr. Saseendran said two lakh sandalwood saplings and the necessary host plants required for their growth would be planted on 200 hectares of land identified for the purpose.

Elaborating on the activities planned in the sector, the Minister said the Forest department would undertake forest landscape conservation using information technology tools. The modernisation of six major timber depots, construction of boundary walls around 10 timber depots, renovation and repair of quarters and camp sheds, and boosting the production of seedlings in central and district nurseries were among the planned works.

He also added that steps would be adopted to impart training in firefighting and supply modern firefighting equipment among the forest staff. Innovative methods would be devised to prevent wildfires. The participation of the forest dependent communities would be ensured in such efforts.

Mr. Saseendran launched the divisional-level e-office system in 30 offices of the Forest department as part of the government’s 100-day programme. Head of Forest Force P.K. Kesavan presided over the function.

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